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How to start a handyman business

Want to make a living out of odd-jobs? Read our guide

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Cost of starting and running a handyman business

The cost of setting up a handyman business can be fairly low, especially if you are a one-man-band. Initially you will need to purchase a set of tools, many of which you may already own, and you also need to think about a vehicle – a van, car, or even scooter will do. However, if you don’t have enough funds to buy one straight up, it may be worth looking into vehicle leasing. Will Davies from Aspect Maintenance recommends going to your local bank to ask about vehicle leasing, as many of the main leasing companies are associated with major banks.

In terms of what you can earn, this can vary according to the size of your business. Most handyman services charge customers at an hourly, or sometimes half-hourly rate, although some also charge a separate call-out fee. Occasionally companies charge according to the job, however this can be complicated, says Will Davies, because it is often difficult to judge the size of the job from speaking with the customer over the phone.

A fairly standard charge may be £20 or £30 per half hour plus VAT. Individual handymen can make up to £300 in a day if business is good, but this may require working long days. Chris Gilbey’s working day often starts at 6am and may not finish until after 10 at night. He says it’s a very “hands-on industry”, however he insists that the excitement and satisfaction of running your own business far outweighs the arduous working hours.

Kerrie Hanafin has learnt two important lessons from starting her business.  She highlights the significance of keeping a close eye on the figures and to work out costs ahead of schedule, to make sure you stay on top of things. She also emphasises the importance of paying yourself first.  “When cashflow is tight, you often find that you end up working for nothing because other people need to be paid.  However, you must always ensure you pay yourself first, to avoid letting yourself down.” James Irwin, from The Handy Squad, reaffirms this point, having witnessed his own salary take a back seat in the early days of his business. He also highlights the importance of being fair in business.  He says: “Always treat customers fairly and price fairly, because that way customers will return with more business and will recommend you. Probably half of our business is through word-of-mouth and repeat customers, and I’m sure it’s because we are fair.”